The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex
Steve was a great fan of the Bailey Brothers who star in a series of detective novels. In fact, Steve considered their series and The Bailey Brothers’ Detective Handbook to be the best books ever. But even though he had read their books through several times, Steve was very surprised when he went to the library to work on his report about early American needlework and was attacked! Steve now had to recover a national treasure, evade secret-agent librarians, and clear his name of national treason. Oh, and finish his report by Monday.
An amazing riff on and homage to classic detective series like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, this book is hilarious, exciting and just pure fun. Barnett’s tone dances between tongue-in-cheek and sincerity with great ease. Steve is a great protagonist, eagerly following the advice of the Bailey Brothers throughout his own adventure even though things rarely go as planned.
Rex’s illustrations are vintage Hardy Boys, done in black and white with gray washes of shadow. Just as with the novel itself, Rex plays with the format, making it modern but vintage at the same time.
Highly recommended for all libraries, this book begs to be shared with others. It would make a super read aloud for elementary school classes, because of its episodic nature and cliffhanging chapters. Appropriate for ages 9-13.
Reviewed from copy received from publisher.